This Sunday we begin our fall series on The Sermon on the Mount. Our series title is Living the Politics of Jesus in a Partisan America, which should give you a sense of where we are going with this. We believe that Jesus gives us an alternative vision for how to be human, and how to order human society, including economics, family, justice, power, etc., than what is offered by our world.
Just as Jesus confronted the religious (and Roman) leaders of his day with an alternative ‘politic’ (i.e. a way to live and order relationships in our world), so too today Jesus confronts both the accepted ‘secular’ and ‘religious’ assumptions that have come to dominate in American discourse.
Our preaching team will be using two books to give theological and cultural shape to our sermons. We encourage you to read along if you can:
- Scandalous Witness: A Little Political Manifesto for Christians by Lee C. Camp. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.
- What if Jesus was Serious?: A Visual Guide to the Teachings of Jesus we Love to Ignore, by Skye Jethani. This one is a sort of a easy-access, visual commentary on The Sermon on the Mount.
Below is how we are breaking down the texts from the Sermon on the Mount (and the books we are reading together):
- Sept 6 – Matt 4:17-5:1-2, 7:28-29 (What If? p. 9-12, Scandalous p. 1-21)
- Sept 13 – Matt 5:1-16 (What If? p. 14-37, Scandalous p. 22-32)
- Sept 20 – Matt 5:17-26 (What If? p. 38-53, Scandalous p. 33-45)
- Sept 27 – Matt 5:27-37 (What If? p. 54-69, Scandalous p. 46-67)
- Oct 4 – Matt 5:38-48 (What If? p. 70-81, Scandalous p. 68-78)
- Oct 11 – Matt 6:1-8, 16-18 (What If? p. 82-85, Scandalous p. 79-99)
- Oct 18 – Matt 6:9-15 (What If? p. 86-99, Scandalous p. 100-120)
- Oct 25 – Matt 6:19-34 (What If? p. 100-121, Scandalous p. 121-131)
- Nov 1 – Matt 7:1-6 (What If? p. 122-129, Scandalous p. 132-140)
- Nov 8 – Matt 7:7-12 (What If? p. 130-141, Scandalous p. 141-153)
- Nov 15 – Matt 7:13-29 (What If? p. 142-169, Scandalous p. 154-163)
- Nov 22 – Matthew 25:31-46 (What If? p. 170-181, Scandalous p. 164-172)
We also plan to record Table Chat podcast episodes for midweek discussion on the previous Sunday’s sermon. Fr. Ben and I will interview members of our congregation on their thoughts and interactions with the text of Scripture, and their readings of Camp and Jethani as we wrestle with Scripture together.
Our hope is that we can gain clarity as a community on how to live out our faith truthfully together. We are entering a contentious few months as the election season heats up and we want to give direction and light for The Table on how to center our lives on Jesus in a contentious and fractious moment in our country.
God be with us as we learn to live the politics of Jesus together,
P.S. We created a prayer booklet out of this series. It includes from each week: the sermon on the mount passage, good news proclamation, prayer of response, and a collect. These proclamations and prayers, written by those in our body, are our prayers together as we learn from Jesus how to center ourselves on his Kingdom politic.